Are Meta Keywords Relevant In 2024 Website Rankings?

by Vince Bowman

In posing the question “Are Meta Keywords Relevant in 2024 Website Rankings?” the answer can be both yes and no.  As business people and website owners we want our websites to rank as high as possible with search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  That way the probability of potential money spending customers and/or clients that will purchase our services or products increases.  As director of sales and marketing for a website design company, Website Darlings, I want my company, the clients we work with and their websites which we design, build and host to rank high in keyword searches.  Notice how I described the search as a keyword search.  Remember this.  I will remind you of it later.

Let’s go back to where it all started.  First God said, “Let there be light.”  Just kidding.  To the beginning of website keywords.  When the internet boom hit and Google emerged as a major player in the search engine category, shoving Yahoo to the side like an annoying little brother, keywords were how websites were ranked in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).  A SERP is the page that magically appears before your eyes on your device after you’ve entered your search query.  Back in those early days it was easier for savvy folk to get there websites ranked.  All they had to do was code their websites with as many keywords as possible.  The Google bots were eating them up like Pac-Man.  Pac-Man?  I know.  I’m dating myself.   

But some of these savvy people were coding keywords that weren’t relevant to their business.  For example, a dog groomer might have coded “dog walker” as a keyword into their website.  Figuring if someone were looking for a dog walker they might also need, at some time or another, a dog groomer.  This makes logical sense.  But let’s put on the shoes of the query searcher.  If it were me and I typed in “dog walker near me” and a bunch of dog groomers popped up on my SERP I wouldn’t be happy about it.  And this is how Google looked at it.  They are interested in everyone’s SERP experience.  And Google looked down on keyword stuffing.  That’s what it was named when someone coded keywords into their website that were not relevant to that website’s business or purpose.

Shortly after Google began penalizing websites for keyword stuffing.  And they did it in 2011 with a cute little algorithm called “Panda”.  If Panda detected keyword stuffing in your website or its coding it would not display your website.  They could have called it Shark because it ate up a lot of websites back then. 

So, the answer to “Are Meta Keywords Relevant in 2024 Website Rankings?” is, not so much.  Top authorities say hit your website with a few relevant meta keywords and keep it moving!  Google claims they use other methods to rank websites and to recognize their authority.  Such as the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings.  Let’s take a closer look at the words of your query.  Isn’t this another way of saying keywords?  Yes, it is.  Remember when I said to remember keyword search? 

Google can’t get away from using keywords to rank websites.  It’s how you present the keywords to Google that makes a difference.  The first thing we need to do is take the meta out of keywords.  The next thing we need to do is come back to Website Darlings and read part 2 of this piece titled “How To Use Keywords In 2024 To Rank Your Website.”

Y’all come back now.  Ya hear.


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